Saturday, 9 January 2016

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Colintraive

Q2. Loch Fad

N.B. For question one, some maps show the ferry route from Ardentraive to Rubodach but on checking the OS map, Ardentraive looks like it is up the hill a ways from where the ferry docks and the CalMac timetable shows the route as Colintraive to Rubodach.

The initial clues seem to place us at the hamlet of Colintraive, in a large wilderness area called Argyll and Bute. According to the Cal Mac timetable pages, their ferry runs from Colintraive across the Kyles of Bute, a distance of some three hundred and thirty yards, to Rhubodach, on the island of Bute. The Eastender is a big fan of Cal Mac, the traditional fried breakfasts they serve on their island hopping ferries are wonderful, just what you need to set you up for a days hiking (they do fish and chips on the evening trips) but you probably won't be able to sample them on this route, as it only takes five minutes to complete the crossing.

Bute, according to some of the sources I checked, is around twelve thousand, two hundred and seventeen hectares or thirty thousand, one hundred and eighty eight acres in area and is split by 'The Highland Boundary Fault', upon which sits the two mile long 'Loch Fad'. The fault runs from Arran, through Bute and thence in a north easterly direction, all the way to Stonehaven. It may still be active and a magnitude 1.4 earthquake was recorded In Argyll and Bute, as recently as the 29th November twenty fifteen.

The twenty five mile path the puzzle author is referring to is probably 'The West Island Way' and driving south east from Rubodach, would bring us to the town of Rothesay, where lie the magnificent Victorian toilets, which according to the blurb on their website, are 'World Class' and do seem to have twenty urinals.

Rothesay castle was built c 13th century and from the pictures I saw of it, does indeed have a circular curtain wall. The mansion that the writer describes, is probably 'Mount Stuart'. The Eastender has been in this house and was astonished by it, it is Victorian gothic in architectural style and castle like in size and has a marble hall decorated with priceless tapestries and a ceiling painted with astronomical themes and signs of the zodiac. The guy who built it (The Marquess of Bute) was once the richest man in Europe (he controlled the flow of coal through Cardiff docks and probably got a fee from every load that was processed through that facility).

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment related to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it.


  1. You have my support for your fried breakfast comment.
    I regard the CalMac full Scottish breakfast as an essential part of my hillwalking/&scrambling days out on Arran. No stamina without it.
    Its a pleasant cycle from the ferry to Mount Stuart enjoying the quiet island of Bute pace of life.

  2. Hi East Ender,
    While doing a final check on my answers I notice that you and I have missed out the first building mentioned which is The Pavilion in Rothesay.